Statement by His Excellency Abdullah Gül, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, at the OIC Meeting

Abdullah Gül 25.09.2006
Mr. Secretary General,
Distinguished Colleagues,

It is again a privilege for me to address to the OIC Foreign Ministers Annual Coordination Meeting.

First of all, I want to extend my special thanks and appreciation to Prof. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the Secretary General of the OIC and the staff of his Secretariat. They exert considerable efforts in precipitating reform process in the OIC to reinforce its position in the world affairs.

Turkey firmly supports the reform process aimed to create more competitive, transparent and effective organization to match the global standards.

I believe that the OIC should do more to overcome the challenges we face in the 21st century such as, scourge of terrorism, growing phenomenon of Islamophobia, prejudices, misconceptions and polarizations among civilizations, and ongoing problems in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq.

Dear friends,

Since 10th Islamic Summit Conference held in Putrajaya, Malaysia, the structural reform process with a view to forming a more effective place of interaction and coordination has gained momentum.

This momentum should never lose the pace in the time ahead. We need to create a common stand against all forms of terrorism, to promote the ground of dialogue among civilizations, to bolster the efforts in eradicating weapons of mass destruction, and to make our voices heard in global and regional affairs.

Moreover, the Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference held in Makkah in December 2005 adopted the 10-Year Programme of Action in order to overhaul and expand the role of the OIC against the existing and new threats, further engage in international issues and debates and create enlightened moderation on the basis of human rights, good-governance and gender equality.

We should embolden the reforms on lofty principles of respect for human rights, especially towards the woman's status in our societies.

In this context, I am sure that The First Islamic Conference on Woman, to be held in Istanbul, in November, will provide significant opportunities for coordination and interaction among member states to eliminate the discrimination against women and to improve their status.

Distinguished friends,

The problems in the Middle East are inter-related and multi-dimensional.

We believe that the effects of the developments in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan and their results are not confined solely with the region.

Since the very beginning of the last crisis, we tried our best to ease the tension. We were in close contact with all parties.

We believe that if the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 could be implemented fully, a permanent cease-fire and the long term solution can be achieved.

As I mentioned in my address to the General Assembly last Friday, we observe that everyone has drawn lessons from what took place in Lebanon.

Now, in the aftermath of this tragedy, there is a different climate conducive for a renewed peace initiative.

We whole-heartedly appeal to all parties and the international community not to let this opportunity escape us. What we need now is strong and determined leadership which will resolutely pursue the road to peace.

Dear Colleagues,

Turkey will take part in the UNIFIL with the decision of the Turkish Parliament, in order to help achieving lasting peace and stability in the region.

We attach great importance of strengthening the sovereignty of the Lebanese Government throughout the country. I believe that all OIC members must work hand in hand towards this end.

Dear friends,

The comprehensive peace in the region can only be achieved through the just and lasting solution of the Palestinian problem. Establishment of a democratic Palestinian State within the recognized borders and living side by side with Israel is the only way for stability in the region.

Iraq is also facing very complex challenges whose solutions lie beyond the ethnic and sectarian agendas that shape Iraqi politics today.

Security problem and polarization in Iraq are great threat to the country's future. We therefore, support Prime Minister Maliki's security and national reconciliation plans and sincerely hope that these will yield the intended results.

What Iraq needs today is a spirit of understanding and cooperation. If this is achieved, many issues such as amendment of constitution and the future of Kirkuk will no longer be sources of friction among the groups in Iraq but new avenues of cooperation.

This, in turn, will contribute to security situation in the country and lead to a united, territorially intact and prosperous Iraq that has overcome domestic and outward terrorist threats, living in peace with its people and its neighbors.

Dear friends,

Turkey and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus maintain their constructive attitude towards finding a just, peaceful and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General.

A solution should be based on the long-established UN parameters which are political equality, bi-zonality and a partnership state.

In spite of the fact that an historic opportunity was missed with the rejection of the Annan Plan by the Greek Cypriot side, we continue to support the efforts, under the Good-Offices Mission of the UN Secretary General towards reaching a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus.

With this understanding in mind, we have given our support to the agreement reached between the two sides on the Island on July 8, to establish a number of technical committees to deal with day to day issues.

Contrary to the positive approach of the Turkish side, the Greek Cypriot leadership attempts to delay the start of technical talks and continues to conduct a strong international campaign to prevent any opening towards the Turkish Cypriots.

UN Secretary-General, in his report of May 2004, made a strong call to the international community for the elimination of restrictions isolating the Turkish Cypriots.

The Organization of Islamic Countries has, on various occasions, adopted resolutions that appeal to Member States to closely associate themselves with the Turkish Cypriots and to increase their relations with them in all fields.

I would therefore like to take this opportunity to urge, once again, all brother Muslim countries to take the necessary steps to end the unjust isolation of their Muslim brethren in Northern Cyprus.

The recent visit of President Mehmet Ali Talat to Pakistan was a constructive and an encouraging step towards this direction. We commend the leadership displayed by H.E. Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, who extended this invitation to President Talat. We expect that similar invitations are forwarded by other brotherly Muslim countries.

Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to voice once again the expectation of the Turkish Cypriots to have a permanent representative's office to the OIC in Jeddah. While giving our support to this demand, I invite all of you to consider it favorably.

We appreciate the efforts of the OIC for its continued interest in the situation of the Turkish Muslim Minority in Western Thrace and the overall support that it extends to the Minority.

Unfortunately, despite the international calls, the sufferings of the members of the Turkish Muslim Minority continue to exist.

Therefore, a constant attention and support by the OIC for the recognition and implementation of the minority rights of the Turkish Muslim Community in Western Thrace remains to be of great importance.

The Kashmir issue, which continues for so many years and costs so many lives and suffering on the part of the Kashmiri people, should be solved peacefully, through dialogue and without further delay, in line with aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Another dispute that undermines stability, prosperity and democratic governance in our region is the Azeri-Armenian conflict.

We should extend our full support to Azerbaijan for the restoration of its complete sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Distinguished Colleagues,

I would like to take this opportunity to present to you Turkey's candidate to the post of Director General of the World Health Organization, Prof. Dr. Tomris Türmen. Prof. Türmen is a very gifted candidate from the Muslim world. We are confident that if elected, with her vast experience, she will be able to contribute to the ideals of WHO, and improve the health and well-being of people all over the world. Turkey would very much appreciate the valuable support of the Governments of the Organization of the Islamic Conference for this candidature.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Before to conclude, I would like to express my Government's continued support for the activities of the two successful subsidiary organs of the OIC hosted by Turkey, namely IRCICA and SESTRIC.

I also would like to announce you all that another affiliated organization of the OIC, i.e. OIC Youth Forum, started its activities in Istanbul three weeks ago.

Thank you.